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A scientific approach to skin radiotherapy nursing Article 1 - The role of the nurse in patient assessment

International Journal of Radiology & Radiation Therapy
Gerald B. Fogarty,1 Amy Sutton,1 Rachel Ni,1 Nicole Christiansen,1 Jocelyn Guard,1 Jenn Manning,2 Anupam Chaudhuri


Nurses play an important role in the care of patients treated with radiotherapy (RT) for skin conditions, such as skin cancers. A series of four articles will aim to supplement general oncology nurse training by providing a scientific basis to better understand the skin and its diseases, the use of RT in skin, and the management of necessary acute skin RT reactions to achieve best patient outcomes. This first article focuses on the role of the nurse within the radiation oncology department and the initial patient assessment. It enables the nurse to develop an appreciation of the unique nature of patients undergoing RT to the skin and provides recommendations on nursing assessment, patient examination, and optimal care of the skin RT patient. It also highlights the psychological impact of a skin cancer diagnosis on the patient. The second article in this series of four revises the anatomy, physiology, pathologies and radiobiology of skin. The third describes the skin RT prescription and plan, especially in relation to volume and dose; and the fourth shows how the nurse, by applying the knowledge from the previous articles, can predict, explain and care for acute side effects that may arise during a course of skin radiotherapy


radiotherapy, radiobiology, superficial radiotherapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy, skin, skin cancer, nursing, review